First on CNN: Republican Party to step up outreach to evangelicals
POSTED: Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 3:54pm
UPDATED: Sunday, June 9, 2013 - 10:00am
ATLANTA (CNN) — The Republican National Committee has brought on a director of evangelical outreach to massage the party's complicated relationship with religious conservatives, GOP sources told CNN on Saturday.
The party organization has hired Chad Connelly, a consultant and motivational speaker who, until this weekend, was the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.
Connelly resigned from that job Saturday and informed members of the state party's executive committee that he will be taking a job at the RNC.
Details of his job will not be announced until next week, and a spokeswoman for the RNC declined to comment on the new hire.
But Connelly, a Baptist, has told multiple South Carolina Republicans that he will be steering the national party's outreach to faith-based groups. He will be based in South Carolina.
Hiring a full-time faith-based outreach director was one of 14 recommendations outlined by the RNC's post-election "Growth and Opportunity Project" released earlier this year.
The so-called GOP "autopsy" did little to define the job other than to say the RNC should "focus on engaging faith-based organizations and communities with the Republican Party" -- a complicated task as the party tries to woo younger voters whose attitudes on social issues, especially same-sex marriage, are increasingly out of step with the evangelical wing of the conservative movement.
Connelly will be replaced at the South Carolina GOP by Matt Moore, an adviser to Sen. Tim Scott and former executive director of the party.